Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Johnson Family

This is the third shoot I've gotten to do for the Johnson Family, and it is always such a great experience... Trisha is so creative and always comes with fun props and ideas. Add that to their laid back and relaxed personalities and it is just a wonderful combination. We just took these on Tuesday, and it was supposed to be a high chance of thunderstorms all afternoon and evening. When we got there the sun was shining, and it stayed beautiful for about an hour. We started out down by the water and took some out on the docks as well... Braxton fell in love with the white geese and wanted to chase them all over the park. We finished up on one of my favorite grassy hills, and just as we were taking the last few images we heard the rumble of thunder and massive clouds started moving across the sky and over the sun. So thankful for that one hour of sunny skies to capture some really sweet images! As always, here are a few of my favorites :) 

(This was not posed in anyway... we had just walked down to the water and were still talking about where we wanted to start when I looked up and saw the two of them standing like that. I caught this sweet moment between Jade and Braxton as quick as I could :) )

Love the one of Jade below... she has such beautiful blue eyes!

The idea below was all Trisha's... she made the cute crate and brought along the chalk board, love how this one came out :) 

 Handsome little man :) 

 Besides chasing the geese, Braxton's other favorite activity was climbing this hill and then toddling down it over and over again with a big grin on his face. :) 

The one below is a definite favorite :)

There is something so special about the relationship between a daddy and his little girl. Absolutely in love with the image below. 

The image below was another of Trisha's fun ideas :) 

As usual, I always try to create a tiny little moment dedicated to the love that started it all :) 

Thank you again for giving me the chance to work with your family to capture these moments for you :) Hope you love them!! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

On Fasting

We just came out of a three week fast that our whole church body took part in together, beginning on March 30th and ending on Easter Sunday (yesterday). The Lord really showed me some, I believe, life changing things during this fast and Shaun and I got to share some of this in church on April 13th, (you can click here to listen to our message... what I'm about to share here comes into the message around the 18 minute mark)

Ok, so jumping right in.... There are three distinct parts to who we are as a human being. I never understood the difference before just recently, so I apologize if you already know this, but maybe it will be revolutionary to someone else like it was to me. The diagram below is the most simplified version I could find.

K, so basically the first part of who you are is your physical body, the second part is your soul (which is made up of your mind, will, and emotions) and the third part is your spirit. Your spirit is the part of you which is possessed, or inhabited, by the Holy Spirit when you become a believer. Some verses to check out on this would be 1 Thesselonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12. 

When we fast we are taking our spirit (which is inhabited by the Holy Spirit if you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God) and setting it in charge over an area of our life that it is not normally in charge of. Example: If you are fasting in the area of food you are taking control away from your body and giving it to your spirit. If you are fasting something like a tv show, social media, certain behaviors in relationships etc. you are taking control away from your soul and giving it to your spirit. 

So the three things the Lord showed me on fasting have to do with the difficulty in fasting, the purpose in fasting, and the joy in fasting. 

The difficulty in fasting comes because of the power struggle between our body and soul and our spirit.  In previous fasts it was extremely easy for me to choose to fast, then complain about it the whole time. This just goes to show me that while my spirit was on board with the fast, the rest of me was having a hard time getting in line and following along. 

The purpose in fasting is to strengthen your spirit, or enlarge its territory in your life. The analogy the Lord gave me was that if lifting weights is one way to make your body strong, then fasting is one way to make your spirit strong. (There are obviously other ways as well, like worship, spending time in prayer or in the Word, etc.) As you purposely set your spirit in charge of areas of your life that have not previously been under its authority, you are increasing the realm of your life that is being governed by your spirit. You also grow closer to the Lord during a fast, and I never understood the correlation before this fast. I felt like the Lord showed me that when you fast you are taking yourself off of "autopilot" so to speak and fully engaging your spirit... Your spirit is forced to be on the alert, ready and awake and constantly on guard during a fast. When your spirit is forced to be vigilant in this way you can't really help but be more spiritually aware... whether it's hearing the voice of the Lord more clearly or having discernment in situations going on in your life. When your spirit is engaged 24/7, you automatically are spending more time tuned into the Father's heart. When you end your fast, your spirit might be totally out of breath and more than ready to surrender power back to your body or soul... but it has gained "muscle", and the next time you fast it will be easier. Just like lifting weights. 

The last part of what God showed me through this recent fast is where the joy in fasting comes from. I actually felt for the first time during fasting this incredible joy this time, and it was because I felt like I was actually in charge of myself. As I dug deeper into why I was feeling this way the Lord took me to Jeremiah 17:9 "Above all the heart is deceitful..." And also to Romans 12, specifically the verse on renewing our minds. As I thought through this I realized that when I became saved and gave my life to the Lord, surrendering my spirit to Him, it was finally someone who I could actually trust who was in charge of me. My spirit, when inhabited by the Holy Spirit, is the truest part of me. The redeemed, sanctified, resurrected me. My God is good, and He has good plans for me. Therefore if I trust His spirit inside of me to govern my life, it finally feels like the "me" I was made to be is in charge. After all... my heart is deceitful. And my spirit is supposed to take captive every thought that enters my mind. An awesome quote that I recently heard is "Whatever I renew my mind with, I will be transformed to." So, so true. And there is unlimited JOY to be found in being completely submitted to the Holy Spirit... Just another amazing paradox of the life we created to live... It is in submission to the Holy Spirit that true freedom is found. 

There are changes we made during our fast that I am actually going to continue on with even now that the fast is "over." I am looking forward to sharing more on what we fasted and how we are going to carry on with some of the changes another time :) 

Disclaimer: I may or may not have broken the fast on Easter morning with a peanut butter egg... My spirit was feeling a little tired after three weeks of saying no to my body... ;) But after a full day of rest I think my spirit's gearing back up to take over again. :) 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rachel & Zoey

This shoot kind of created itself. I had planned on meeting Rachel at Longwood Gardens to take senior photos for her oldest daughter. When there ended up being a conflict of timing at the last minute, Rachel decided to use the shoot for a mother daughter session with her youngest daughter, Zoey. So appropriate with Mother's Day coming up, and it was absolutely awesome working with someone who cared so much about commitment and didn't back out at the last minute but instead used the opportunity to be creative and make fun memories with her baby girl. 
Rachel is a gem. I know her through church and she has consistently shown me such kindness and been so encouraging and real. And Zoey... She is just bursting with life and laughter and adorable eight year old girly-ness... Hope you enjoy these sweet moments we captured that day :)

I had so much fun walking around the gardens and talking with you both... thank you so much for allowing me to take these for you, I hope you love them! 

photography trip: the beach in april

Last week we had the coolest opportunity. The man my cousin works for owns several rental properties in Rehoboth Beach. My cousin asked me if I would go down and take updated photos of the rentals for them. We were able to stay in one of the townhouses (which is only one block from the beach) for two nights, and the money I made taking the pictures covered our expenses while we were there. I had just been thinking how great it would be to get away just the five of us when he called me. It felt like such a gift. You never know what opportunities might come through photography :) 

We left on a wednesday night and came home friday night. We took all our food with us, I made hard boiled eggs and sausage and cut up a pineapple to take along for breakfast. For our lunches we had turkey lettuce wraps and I made a tomato mozzarella salad and brought veggies and dip and chips and salsa... and for dinner we stopped at chic fila on our way down, grilled burgers and made french fries the next night, and got burrito bowls from chipotle one our way home. Simple and didn't have to spend hardly any time cooking or cleaning once we were there.

The weather was gorgeous... The first day was windy and chilly but there was not a cloud in the sky. We flew a kite on the beach that morning, then took a long walk in the afternoon. The next day was warmer and not nearly so windy so we played wiffle ball on the beach that morning and even stuck our toes in the water. We took another long walk that afternoon and made a stop to get the boys some chocolates from candy kitchen. :) 
I went to sleep at 8:30 one night, we watched movies together, the boys colored, we sang at the top of our lungs during the road trips there and back, and Jaden boy experienced his first trip to the beach. It was so good, totally worth the packing and un-packing of much baby gear for a short trip. I don't normally edit photos just for us, but I spent  a little bit of time on that this time, after all, it was a photography related trip :)

Here are my favorites:

Running out to the water our first morning there.

Pictures with our littlest man his first time on the beach. 

Flying Kites.

Saiah baby.... hands in pockets on the first day, letting the sand run through his fingers the next.

Us with our big boys...

Playing baseball on the second day. Shaun was all-time pitcher, Drew was all-time batter, and me and Isaiah (and Jaden too I guess) were all-time catchers :)

Warrior Drew taking on the ocean with a giant stick he found in the sand. 

When packing for myself I just threw in my favorite t-shirts, jeans, my favorite over sized gray sweater cardigan in case it was chilly, sandals and sunglasses. Easy, fun and comfortable for time away with my boys :)

So thankful for this opportunity and little break to get away... we loved it :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday Randoms (published on Wednesday)

Spring cleaning has officially begun in our home!! All the windows are open, the beds have been completely stripped (including duvets taken apart and decorative pillows de-covered) and everything is going through the wash as I type... to be hung outside on the clothes line later this afternoon. The flannel sheets are being switched with the egyptian cotton and I can't wait to climb into a clean, fresh bed tonight :)

Also on my list:

wash windows
move houseplants out onto the porch for some fresh air and sunshine
vacuum under beds
dust all light fixtures
switch out winter and summer clothes

Spring has been a lifesaving time of year for me the past few years, whether it meant the end of first trimester pregnancy sickness with all three of my little men, or just because I was desperately wanting to start fresh and spring seems to be the birthplace of creativity and inspiration for me. So thankful it's finally here after a very wintery winter this year...

Everything above this line was written Monday morning... it is now Wednesday morning, and it SNOWED last night.... SNOWED! How dare it! My poor blooming tulips!!! :( I would also like to say that I did not get to hang our bedding on the clothes line that afternoon because it looked like it might rain. And after putting all the fresh covers back on the boys bed that day... they both wet the bed that night. But ya know.... there must have been some progress made somewhere that day.... there must have been....

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Here's to posts that get published late, plans that get undone, beds that get unmade, remade, and unmade again, flowers that bloom and get snowed on, and above all, to REAL LIFE! :)

Formula for Shopping for Boys Spring Clothes

Last fall I posted my list of clothing that I get for my boys at the beginning of fall/winter. So now I'd love to share my spring/summer list too :) It makes it so helpful for me to go into this type of thing with a very specific plan (especially since we have a very specific budget). Having three boys who were all born the same time of year, I know that I am going to be passing everything down through three little people, and I like to buy things new so that they last as long as possible. But I still don't like to spend much ;) So here is my list and my tips on spring shopping for boy clothes!


5 T-shirts
3 pairs of shorts
3 tank tops
2 pairs of gym shorts
1 Dressy shirt (first worn for Easter)
1 Bathing suit & rash guard
2 Pairs of Pajamas

(In an effort to keep this simple, the above list is my list for Drew. I still get Isaiah 1 or 2 new t-shirts, sandals, an Easter shirt & pajamas, also replacing anything that is too worn out or doesn't fit of the things being handed down to him. And Jaden, being the third boy and still being at an age where clothes really don't get worn all that hard yet didn't need anything but a shirt for Easter this year :) But I'm only trying to show you my "formula" for dressing one boy in this post)

So Before we went clothes shopping I inventoried everything they already had. We got out all our summer clothes from years past and they tried on tons of things and I crossed everything off the list that we already had. Then I looked online for what stores were having sales when... It turned out baby gap was having a 40% off sale that very day until noon, so I got ordered a few things from there, then went to the carter's and children's place outlets that were having sales as well the next day.

So here's what we came home with for Drew: 

Below are his 5 t-shirts. (He is in love with the one with the shark at the bottom and wants to wear it every day. The average price per shirt was $5.)

Below is the one pair of shorts I got him. His khaki shorts from last year still fit, and I think I might add a pair of bright green denim cutoffs as his third pair of shorts. (Sidenote: gray shorts are awesome for boys... they go with everything & are not quite as dressy/preppy a look as khaki shorts)

These are the three tank tops and two gym shorts we got for him. This is pretty much what my boys live in to play outside and be comfy at home during the summer, not to mention wearing the tanks a lot when we go to the beach. I went with lots of navy, white and gray this time so all shirts go with both shorts.

This is his dressier shirt that he'll wear for Easter. I love chambray shirts, and I figured he can wear it buttoned up for a dressier look, we can roll up the sleeves for warmer weather, and he can wear it unbuttoned and open over a t-shirt for a casual outfit too. 

This bathing suit we already had, it was too big for any of them last year so I just kept it to be used for Drew this year and found a rash guard at target that coordinated with it. (by the way, the circo brand rash guards from target have held up the best for me so far... ones I've used from carters have only lasted through one summer and not been able to be handed down like the circo ones because they've gotten so stretched out)

The pajamas are their favorite part... they get to pick out their favorite from the store and love wearing them at night :) I always get a two pack from carters that come with two tops and two bottoms. This year Drew chose whale pajamas and Isaiah chose sea turtles. One pair of Drew's was in the wash and he was wearing the other pair as I took these photos, so he posed in his new jammies for me :) 

Last but not least Drew's sunglasses and sandals. 

This list has worked really well for me the past few years of having boys. I've tweaked it and added/subtracted from it as each summer has gone by. Instead of buying things with a pre-determined outfit in mind, I try to buy things that all coordinate with each other and can be interchangeable to make many, many different outfit possibilities. If you're looking at this list and thinking it's way too short or don't I get tired of the same 5 t-shirts or how do I make this amount of clothing work for all different events, it's really in the creativity of not wearing the exact same thing over and over but mixing it up a bit in the combinations instead. 

I said this in my post of my "fall clothing formula" too, but having less options makes it easier for me to dress them, I don't have an overwhelming amount of laundry, I don't spend an overwhelming amount of money, and it's only for one season... next summer they'll be in something else. If you have boys I hope this is helpful to you!! :) 

Just for fun I had to include my favorite purchases for Isaiah this time too :) 

This little gray v-neck, these adorable jean shorts with the extra detail of ticking fabric sewn in the pockets and where the jeans are rolled.... his aviators and his first pair of flip flops :) 

When I dress Drew I think of him as being hipster/prep... when I dress Isaiah I go for a little more surfer/prep feel... Maybe I'm ridiculous for spending time or thought on their clothing at this age, but it's just how I think, part of my creative outlet, and I love that they are so unique and I like to try to let their little personalities show through what I put them in. :) :)